To that end, there are four main scoring mechanisms for scoring and managing leads:
Profile (explicit criteria). Who is this person? In particular, does he work for a company that's already a customer? This score changes only when you are using progressive registration and external data enrichment, both of which are best practices.
Behavior (implicit criteria). What has this person done? What has she responded to? In particular, has she personally purchased from us before? This score changes almost any time the lead takes an action. Having a carefully documented and measured scoring algorithm is a best practice here.
Temporal (decay criteria). How long has it been since the last action? In many U.S. market sectors, this is an amazingly important factor, as lead interest is highly perishable. In markets suffering less from ADHD, the time factors can be calibrated in weeks rather than hours.
Social criteria. Who does this person influence, and who influences her? If you're lucky enough to have access to detailed communication network patterns, there is significant predictive value here. This is an area of truly Black Magic, so watch out for overselling from vendors and consultants alike.
Second Quarter: Using CRM for Pipeline Scoring
Once a prospect has engaged in a sales cycle, the most visible scoring in the CRM world starts to happen. It's called the forecast, and it has a raft of its own political and organizational issues on top of accuracy.
The scoring criteria for individuals can be extended to deals:
Profile criteria apply to both the company (knowing it's in your target market and has the budget) and the individuals (namely, an executive champion).
Behavioral criteria should focus on the actions of the prospect, following models you have developed for the type of transaction--new vs. upsell vs. renewal or repeat--as well as the type of customer, distinguished by segment such as vertical industry or company size. To be relevant, behavioral scores much be based on explicit prospect actions such as recorded actions or survey responses, not the self-interested suppositions of the sales team.
Commentary: When Your Customers Vote, Does Your CRM Listen?